News | Rhys Williams | Published: 11:25, Thursday May 23rd, 2019.
A Bargoed-based book publisher is in the process of visiting every primary school in Gwent to help raise awareness of dementia.
Petra Publishing, which works with local community groups to write children’s stories, released the book The Elephant who Forgot in 2015.
As part of their school tour, they will be giving a copy of the book to every six and seven-year-old across the five council areas in Gwent, including Caerphilly County Borough.
A number of school visits are taking place during Dementia Awareness Week, which started on Monday, May 20.
Petra worked with the Abertysswg Parent Forum Group to write the book, which follows the story of an elephant called Billy, whose grandfather has dementia.
The project has been supported by the Integrated Care Fund, which is a Welsh Government initiative.
During the tour, staff will tell the story to children and deliver a series of workshops.
The book’s author, Mike Church, will be part of the tour.
Mr Church took inspiration from the real-life experiences of members of the Abertysswg Parent Forum Group to write the book.
Pupils will also get to make their own forget-me-not flowers to take home alongside their copy of the book.
Petra are hoping the tour will encourage further discussion over the story at school and at home.
Children’s television presenter, Alex Winters, has a keen interest in the topic and said: “The Elephant who Forgot is a touchingly beautiful insight into dementia.
“As someone who experienced my grandmother’s mental decline through dementia, I found this book to be so simple and perfect in it’s explanation of the disease and how it can be explained to our children.
“The Elephant who Forgot is, in my opinion, a must read for everyone, parents included.”
Petra Publishing’s chief executive, Michelle Jones, said: “We’ve heard about schools doing Dementia Friends Training and this book is ideal preparation for younger children. It gives them the opportunity to work towards something.
“The book isn’t too intense and it’s easy to understand.